Sunday, February 15, 2009

Tech Talk: Lawyer(s) Suddenly Laid Off? Looking to Set up an Office?

A couple of friends across the USA have either suddenly been let go, or made the decision to depart before the ax fell. Most have the same problems: How to quickly set up an office presence if a lawyers decides to open up shop.

Here are a few quick - perhaps interim only - suggestions:

1.Email: When I left my prior firm, I was sweating the purchase of an email server. After a day of searching, I settled on about $3-$5 per mail box, you get POP, IMAP, & Webmail, Business-class email, sharing, & mobility. I set up my system for $70 a month. Plus, no contract terms to worry about long term. I am able to control the number of users, add or remove mailboxes, and I have an email address with a specific domain.

2.FAX: I signed up and receive faxes through I'm able to get a local FAX number, and within about 10 minutes I was ready to go.

3.Phones: Obviously a concern. I am able to tell you that we now use VOIP, but in the beginning we went cell. An attorney I know who was let go suddenly actually only had his personal cell. He went to for a disposable phone number.

At the very least, get another cell phone line for the first several days of your new career. You can always forward it to a main number when you're set up.

4.Internet/Website My suggestion to anyone reading this is to acquire and manage your own domain. I'm not talking about building a page, merely about controlling the domain name. That is, don't entrust any internet hosting company to build your site and administer/control the .com name. Why? I can tell you horror stories of a firm passing off its .com to a host, only to have that host go under, and with it the .com name. Another story involves a hosting company getting angry about losing business and refusing to turn over the domain name.

I simply use or, buy the domain name, and forward it to the site that is ultimately built. I can go into detail about modifying an A record, but that is for later.

5. Openoffice and Openoffice is the free version of the typical office system like MS Word/MS Office. It allows you to create a document and save in .doc or other formats. It also allows you to save as a PDF. is just that - converts a document into PDF. There is a free version as well.